Vicar risks jail and bankruptcy in stand against cuts that hit the poor | London Evening Standard

In court: Paul Nicolson calls his fight an “act of civil disobedience” [Image: Evening Standard].

In court: Paul Nicolson calls his fight an “act of civil disobedience” [Image: Evening Standard].


Here’s a man who is willing to take a stand, no matter what the cost.

One wonders how many other people would dare to stand up against injustice in the same way?

A vicar has said he is prepared to be bankrupted and go to prison to highlight benefit cuts and charges he claims are “shortening people’s lives”.

The Reverend Paul Nicolson, 84, who lives in Tottenham, spoke out ahead of a court hearing to deal with his refusal to pay council tax since 2013.

He calls it an “act of civil disobedience” in a fight against tax and welfare policies which he says unfairly hit those on low incomes. “If you make people ill by not giving them enough income, forcing them into debt, you reduce the length of time they could possibly live,” he said. “National and local government are shortening people’s lives.”

About jail he said: “I’m absolutely ready for that. You don’t undertake civil disobedience without being able to take the consequences.” The retired reverend began refusing to pay council tax in 2013 as ministers brought in controversial housing benefit reform, including the “bedroom tax” and benefit cap.

Source: Vicar risks jail and bankruptcy in stand against cuts that hit the poor | Crime | News | London Evening Standard

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8 thoughts on “Vicar risks jail and bankruptcy in stand against cuts that hit the poor | London Evening Standard

  1. robert fillies

    What a very brave and principled man Rev Paul Nicolson is, so unlike the Government that has caused the very hardships Rev Nicolson is taking a stand against.

  2. Nick

    i wish the vicar all the best. at least he will be able to tell the judge first hand about all of the many hundreds of sick and disabled that have died over the past 6 years through welfare reform

    just that alone will be very liberating for him i would think in bringing him closer to god ?

    i cant see a judge sending him to prison and if he were standing before me and i were the judge i would be far more interested in the deaths of the sick and disable and who was behind that then wasting time on the valid non payment of council tax

  3. casalealex

    But to establish the principles of the Declaration of Independence, we are going to need to go outside the law, to stop obeying the laws that demand killing or that allocate wealth the way it has been done, or that put people in jail for petty technical offences and keep other people out of jail for enormous crimes.

    My hope is that this kind of spirit will take place not just in this country but in other countries because they all need it. People in all countries need the spirit of disobedience to the state, which is not a metaphysical thing but a thing of force and wealth. And we need a kind of declaration of interdependence among people in all countries of the world who are striving for the same thing. Howard Zinn

  4. laurence293

    He should read Matthew 22, in particular verse 21, which says “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”. Quite apart from the fact that he with-holding payment to the wrong people; the bedroom tax and benefit levels are decided by central government, the council tax goes to local services.

    1. wildswimmerpete

      @laurence293
      “the council tax goes to local services” together with a sizeable chunk going to the gold-plated final-salary pensions of council CEOs and senior council officers. In the case of my own council, it’s about 44%.

  5. mrmarcpc

    A man with integrity, honour, class, honesty and compassion, traits that tories don’t possess at all, helping his fellow man and that’s the thanks he gets, if he was a pervy vicar, the tories would leave him alone, hope he does get support from anyone who can help him, he is someone who cares for his fellow human beings and should be championed, not crucified!

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